The Saskatchewan Prevention Institute is looking to educate people about syphilis in the province.

To do this the not for profit organization is hosting two webinars this month where speakers will be talking about the virus. Jasmine Ogren, sexual health and reproduction coordinator with the Saskatchewan Preventative Institute explained they were motivated to host the two webinars as syphilis numbers in Saskatchewan are going in the wrong direction.

“Syphilis is on the rise all across Saskatchewan, in 2022 Saskatchewan reported over 2000 cases of infectious syphilis marking a 1400 per cent rate increase since 2018,” she said.

The two webinars will be featuring different speakers, with the first one being done by Dr. Cara Spence from the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Saskatchewan. The second webinar will be done by Dr. Ibrahim Khan from Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and Dr. Nnamdi Ndubuka from the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA). The Saskatchewan Preventative Institute said the online presentations will feature a range of topics including talking about the current challenges and prevention.

Ogren said the webinars are interactive and will allow those watching to actively take part if they are interested.

“We stream them live time over Zoom, so participants will be able to see the slides that the speakers have and interact with them through a Q and A function,” she said.

The Saskatchewan Prevention Institute has put on webinars in the past which have touched on syphilis, but Ogren said it has been a number of years since they have done one. Some recent webinars have featured topics like sexual health and human trafficking.

Ogren said the institute is targeting the webinars at people who are working in the healthcare field along with those working in community based organizations. She added members of the general public are also encouraged to take part.

Overall Ogren said the institute believes it is important that people know about the current syphilis situation in the province.

“There’s a lack of knowledge and awareness that syphilis is on the rise in Saskatchewan,” she said.